Hundreds attend East Belfast service of prayer for the local community
On Wednesday 9th October, around 700 people gathered in St Patrick’s parish church, Ballymacarrett, on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast, to pray for the local area, in response to challenges being faced by members of the community across that part of the city.
In welcoming the members of the congregation, the rector of Ballymacarrett, the Revd John Cunningham, told them that the huge attendance showed “how many people are prepared to humble themselves before God in prayer for East Belfast”.
He challenged the congregation to pray not only for the victims of current circumstances but also for the perpetrators of violence and destruction.
The Archdeacon of Down and rector of Willowfield parish in East Belfast, the Ven. David McClay, led the evening and set the context for the gathering.
Consecration The Consecration of Bishop-elect Pat Storey will take place at 2.00pm on St Andrew’s Day, 30th November, in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. [Press Office]
THE FUTURE OF THE SENATE
When, in 2011, the Gazette interviewed Dr Maurice Manning – a former Leader of the Senate and a Leader of the Opposition in the Senate – he clearly felt that a referendum would favour its abolition. Speaking two years ahead of the voting, Dr Manning was almost right, because the result of the referendum at the beginning of this month saw 51.7% in favour of keeping it to 48.3% in favour of abolition. There seems to be a somewhat more optimistic feeling in the country now, as opposed to 2011, and it is fair to suggest that such changed circumstances probably swung things in favour of retention. At any rate, this was not a glorious victory for those who wanted the Senate kept – it was a close call indeed.
The result, however, has been a good one, but what is now needed is a realistic programme of reform to make the Senate truly effective in scrutinizing legislation and with consideration being given to enhancing the method of electing its members. What the referendum result underlined was that, for the people, power must not be concentrated too much in one House; it also showed that the people were prepared for the cost of having a wider parliamentary process, recognizing that democracy was truly worth giving the optimum expression. There is a real appreciation in the country of the role that many wellknown Senators have played in public life – people like W. B. Yeats, Sir Richard Keane, Mary Robinson, David Norris and Dr Manning himself. So, the Taoiseach was wrong to impose a policy line on his party without allowing a parliamentary party debate. In doing this, he lost the confidence and support of his own party members and alienated many Labour backbenchers in the coalition. He was also wrong not to debate the referendum with the Leader of the Opposition, Micheál Martin.
When it comes to Senate reform, a good place to start would be the 2004 report, drawn up by a sub-committee headed by then Senator Mary O’Rourke, who was Leader of the House at the time. The report, which was not properly followed up, recommended no changes to the Senate’s powers but did recommend that the ‘vocational panels’ be abolished and that 26 seats should be filled by direct elections. It also recommended that the franchise for electing university senators should be extended to all third-level graduates. The report had solid proposals that could well be reconsidered in the post-referendum situation.
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Letters to the editor
Reform Ireland on women bishops
Reform Ireland has accused the Church of Ireland of furthering what it calls “the disorder in God’s Church that it originally initiated with the decision to appoint women as presbyters and bishops by an act of Synod in 1990” by appointing our first woman bishop.
I think it is reasonable to point out that every person ordained to the ministry of the Church of Ireland since 1990 knows that they are offering themselves for service in a Church which believes in and practises absolute equality of men and women within that ministry.
The relevant canon (22) is unambiguous. There are no ifs or buts or let-outs or opt-outs: “Men and women alike may be ordained to the holy order of deacons, of priests, or of bishops, without any distinction on grounds of sex, and men and women so ordained shall alike be referred to and known as deacons, priests or bishops.”
This being the case, it does not seem unreasonable to ask whether people who disagree with this are actually in the right Church. Is it not time for them to ask themselves whether they might more happily exercise the kind of ministry which they are in favour of in a Church which practises, or at least tolerates, discrimination against women?
Furthermore, this applies not only to those ordained since 1990 but to any ordinands who might happen to share the same views, if there be any.
Michael Kennedy (Canon) Lisnadill Rectory 60 Newtownhamilton Road Armagh BT60 2PW
I too , aged four-six years, had the pleasure of seeing the stories of Jesus unfolding week by week on the projector referred to by David Larmour (Letter, Gazette, 27th September) My father – John Godfrey King – was Vicar of Derriaghy from 1935 to 1946 and he had a weekly slide show in the Old Schoolhouse beside the church, now the site of the Quin Memorial Hall.
I have memories of a room full of both adults and children, with many of the children sitting on the floor. The projector was black metal with shiny brass parts and the bulb in it became hotter and hotter as the stories progressed. The slides were in sturdy wooden boxes and I think dad had borrowed them or hired them from somewhere, because he never had more than three or four boxes at any one time.
Each slide was made of two pieces of glass – one each side of the picture – taped round the edges. I was sometimes allowed to look at them by holding them up to the light. We moved to Larne in 1946 and I don’t remember any more slide shows.
One of dad’s good friends – Pat Sheppard – succeeded him and I’m glad to know that he continued to use the projector.
I hope someone in Derriaghy parish can answer David’s question. I can only add to information about its history.
Mildred Irvine 1a Rathmena Avenue Ballyclare BT39 9HX
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